After playing the leading role in 2021’s elections, Virginia will be a similarly key player in the 2022 elections. With a fairly drawn congressional map, there are two key house races that Republicans are looking to take on their quest for a majority. The Virginia Beach-based 2nd and the exurban NOVA-based 7th both will hold Republican primaries in a week. And in both races, Republicans would do best by nominating Jen Kiggans and Yesli Vega as their candidates.
Navy Veteran, Nurse, State Senator
These three titles are all ones that fit Jen Kiggans. In fact, she fits the mold of the candidates the GOP needs in purple seats like the 2nd District. Kiggans has 10 years of experience in the Navy as a pilot, and then heading to nursing school after those 10 years. She has also run these type of tough races before. In 2019, she beat then-Delegate Cheryl Turpin in the 7th Senate district in Virginia by just over 500 votes. This is made more impressive by the fact that former President Trump had narrowly lost this seat in 2016. Keeping this seat in Republican hands, especially in a years like 2019, where the headwinds were against Republicans as a whole, shows the ability to hold this seat in tougher years.
The Virginia Beach area is going to be a swingy area for the next decade. That Kiggans has already proved herself in a tough state level race bodes well for the future.
So, Kiggans fits the mold and fits the candidates that Republicans have had success with the last couple years. It shouldn’t even be a question considering her competition in this primary. Jerome Bell disqualified himself last year when he stated on Twitter that all 50 states should be audited and said that when fraud was discovered that all involved should be executed. There is need to bring that nuttiness to a key race for the majority in the House. Her other opponent, Tommy Altman, is not as nutty as Bell. But Altman got in because of backing from soon to be former Congressman Madison Cawthorn, which that in itself will bring baggage as well.
Supervisor, Deputy Sheriff, Future of the Party
In the redrawn 7th, moved from the Richmond suburbs to parts of the NOVA suburbs/exurbs, Republicans have a wide variety of choices. But the clear cut number one of those choices is current Prince William County Supervisor Yesli Vega. Vega represents the GOPs future in these swing seats with her background. The daughter of El Salvadorian immigrants, Vega made a career in law enforcement, starting off in Alexandria, before eventually joining the Prince William Sheriffs department as a Deputy Sheriff. In 2019 then, Vega won the swingy Coles District for a seat on the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, another candidate over performing in a year that was generally bad for Democrats in Virginia.
Vega is someone who can unite all edges of the party and someone who can connect to a blue part, but highly populated part of Prince William. Vega has also been at the head of Latino outreach in Virginia, something that will be key in this seat. Compare that to Bryce Reeves, her main opponent. Reeves has made a career out of upsetting the party, shown by his nasty 2017 LG primary race against Jill Vogel. Reeves is also voted against the Youngkin budget in the Virginia Senate, which will not be a positive in this Congressional seat. Vega however, is a candidate that in my purview can unite all sides of the party and win in November. She will still have a tough road in this Biden +7 district, but in my eyes she would be best at taking on Abigail Spanberger come November.